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‘They’re Out There Running For Their Life’: Former Afghan Describes Danger Educated Girls Face There

10September 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Nearly 9,000 refugees from Afghanistan are housed just across the border. They could start resettling elsewhere as soon as this weekend.

Fort McCoy in Wisconsin is one of eight military bases holding Afghans after that country collapsed. One Minnesota man shared with WCCO his connection to the chaos overseas and his ongoing fight to save others.

So troubled by what’s been happening in his home country, Yazdan Bakhsh made the trip to Wisconsin to offer his support to those at the military base who are starting over.

“I know when I was very young — 8 to 10 years old — it was not for me to live in Afghanistan,” Bakhsh said.

He grew up in the Hazara community, a frequent target of the Taliban.

“They’d take our food. Their animals would eat all of our crops,” he remembered.

He was rescued by a United Nations worker as a teenager. Bakhsh has called Minnesota home since the 70s. His memoir, called “You’ll Be My Son Joe,” raised money to sponsor the schooling of several Afghan girls. It gave them an education in the Twin Cities.

READ MORE: More Than 8,000 Afghan Refugees Now At Wisconsin’s Fort McCoy

Bakhsh is terrified now for their safety. One Hazara family told him last week their daughter was so desperate to avoid the Taliban she died by suicide.

“I believe our country we owe to those young women, because they’re not going to have a future,” he said.

Fort McCoy shared pictures this week on social media of donated supplies, health screenings, and compassion on display.

While Bakhsh feels some relief for those who made it this far, his fight isn’t over. He’s still working to get girls out of Afghanistan.

“They’re out there running for their life at this moment. They’re going to pay the biggest price,” Bakhsh said.

Bakhsh helped three girls and their brother escape from Afghanistan on a plane to Africa last month.

He wasn’t allowed into the facility at Fort McCoy today but expects to meet some of the refugees soon through different organizations he’s working with.

 

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